Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sonnet Based On A Line By Paul Claudel

O la joie d'être pleinement aimé ! 
ô le désir de s'ouvrir par le milieu comme un livre !
            —Paul Claudel

Open me in the middle like a book.
   No matter what the page, you’ll find your name.
Run your long fingers down where I once took
   A pen and drew a heart of ink and flame:
The one that burns in me and always writes
   In blood of you whenever it feels love
For all your inarticulate delights—
   Which I devour and never weary of.
It’s all and only lines and pretty phrases.
   Part fact, part fiction; but each word is true.
I like to think it comforts and amazes.
   It only lacks one positive review.
      For I’m what nothing on this earth can age:
      A book of love without a final page.

Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sleeping Handsome

Sleep is too kind a word for what I did
   Before we met.  I faced life lifelessly
Behind a wall that all my feelings hid,
   And you broke through, the night you smiled at me.
You held my hand and something in my chest
   That used to be my heart opened its eyes;
You said my name, and that brief sound caressed
   My secret dreams out of their long demise.
Who you are broke through my every defense.
   Looking at you forced my blind eyes to see.
God knows that none of this makes any sense.
   You cannot know how much it means to me
      To know that I could not dream less than true
      If I could always wake up next to you.

Copyright 2016 by Matthew J Wells

Monday, September 26, 2016

Byron and Shelley and the Hello Dolly Revival

Two weeks after Shelley was hired as casting director for the Hello Dolly revival, he was pulling his hair out in frustration. “I cannot get Bette Midler to Commit to more than one Day a Week!” he complained to Byron. “She refuses to perform on any Other day but Tuesday. Which means I have to find another Name Star for all the other Shows—but none of them can commit to more than one day either.”

“Who do you have lined up?” Byron asked.

“Queen Latifah on Wednesdays, because she can do both Shows; Bernadette Peters on Saturdays, for the same Reason; and then Reba McEntire on Thursdays, Imelda Staunton on Fridays, and Ru Paul on Sundays.”

“Problem solved, then,” Byron pointed out.

“Problem just begun!” Shelley whined. “Eight shows, with six Different stars? How in the World am I going to Market this to theatergoers?”

“Simple,” said Byron. “Another day, another Dolly.”

Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


There’s something in the air that smells like promise.
There’s nothing that I need to do or be.
Life says “Go here!” but I’m a Doubting Thomas—
I only pin my faith on being free.

I’m one who meets a compromise and legs it
And always has one eye on the unseen.
I never fail to take the nearest exit
And always treat each red light like it’s green.

This life’s a war where no one fights beside me
Or cares if I should perish or survive.
I load my car up like a gun
And aim it at the setting sun
‘Cause there’s a voice inside me that says “Drive.”

I always keep my eyes on the horizon.
I always count the miles and not the cost.
And when my soul gets down to moralizin’,
My rear-view mirror shows me what I’ve lost.

Tomorrow’s journey always looks inviting
‘Cause yesterday’s was like a lost and found.
I always think the new will be exciting
And wind up swimming where my old self drowned.

It ain’t fair, but this life is like a guidebook—
You always take the thoroughfare you know.
I’ll wish, but I will never pray;
I’ll stop, but I will never stay—
‘Cause there’s a voice inside me that says “Go.”

She was the sweetest thing that this life gave me.
I hummed her like the chorus of a song.
No matter how I fucked up, she forgave me.
Her smile told me that I could do no wrong.

I thought she was an angel sent from Heaven.
I saw salvation when she looked at me.
When God says “Ten,” the Devil says “Eleven,”
And eyes can hide a world of treachery.

I think of her and wish I’d never met her.
I’d kill to wipe those memories away.
I found her in my best friend’s bed
And shot her three times in the head—
Now she’s the voice inside me that says “Pay.”

There’s only one road and it can deliver
A man to heaven or the calaboose.
It’s caked and dusty, like a dried-up river,
And twines around this country like a noose.

We say that standing still is terrifying,
But every time we move, we never change.
A house is for the lonely or the dying.
A car is for the freeway and the range.

I starve the need that will be my undoing.
I feed the engine that keeps me alive.
I know my dream is just ahead.
I’ll chase it down until I’m dead
‘Cause there’s a voice inside me that says “Drive.”

Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells

Life In 14 Lines - 9

My inner mirror says that I’m nineteen.
I like to think that Life’s a piece of cake.
My ego drives me like a limousine.
Low self-esteem keeps stepping on the brake.

My fears are quaking in the shotgun seat.
My lust is in the trunk, ballgagged and bound.
No matter where I stop or who I meet,
I wind up swimming where my old self drowned.

There’s only one road and it can deliver
A man to heaven or the calaboose.
It’s caked and dusty, like a dried-up river,
And twines around this country like a noose.

I feed the engine that keeps me alive.
My dream is down the road, so I just drive.

Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells

Monday, September 19, 2016

The High Place

It’s an odd view, far from the noisy tussles
I’m used to seeing on the road below.
To stand here takes a different set of muscles;
To stay here means descending is my foe.

Perspective is the only view that's clear—
I see inanes swallowed by the innate.
Trees shrink and forests blossom as I peer.
I feel a wind that shows me what has weight.

What was important face to face seems small
Now that I look down on it from above.
I find that there are different names to call
Familiar nouns; but only one verb: love.

To feel or offer it is my decision,
Like how and what I view explains to vision.

Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sonnet Based On The Opening Line Of Silverlock

If I had cared to live, I would have died.
   I didn’t give a shit, and here I am.
It’s like the world makes sure I get denied
   And gives no fucks each time I give a damn.
Indifference always reads like confidence.
   Auditions: Give a shit? I lose the part.
Wanting to please looks like incompetence.
   Lovers: Show them I care? They break my heart.
Life sees I couldn’t care less, and gives more,
   Like energy’s a scale that balance rules.
When I say I want in, Life slams the door;
   Yearn for the verdict, I get judged by fools.
      I’ll never lack a break for lack of trying—
      But if I care to live,  then I risk dying.

Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells

Monday, September 12, 2016

Frank Mills + 50

                          May 1966 issue of Rave Magazine

Fifty years ago, I met Frank Mills
On September 12th, right here,
In front of (what used to be) the Waverly.
God, did he adore me!
But I was a mess.

His kids have kids now, I bet
(Like mine do).
They like disco and death metal,
Not the Beatles,
And they shave their hair
Until they’re smooth down there
Front and back.

I married
The singer who knocked me up
And then I walked out on him.
And now I live in Park Slope
Where toddlers wear crash helmets.

I buy food online
And clothes on credit
And Medicare won’t cover the pain
So I
Binge watch
Charlie’s Angels.

I keep trying to see
If Frank’s on Facebook
So that I can friend him.
I was finicky once;
Now I’m not hard to please.

All those random years and I
Can’t recall three back to back.


Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells


Friday, September 9, 2016

Love And Death

      A man fights for far more than the mere hope of winning.
                 -- Cyrano de Bergerac

I think of all the ways my love has died:
Strangled by silence, cured like a disease,
Taken for granted, tortured, petrified,
Shot in the head while praying on its knees.

Love dies like people do—you cannot save
A single one from needing special care
If it lives long enough, for there’s a grave
For everything that lives, from dull to rare.

Entropy rules this world from end to start;
Its one law is “What shines today must fade.”
But there’s an angry rebel in my heart
Who feels that this law must be disobeyed—

And though it’s doomed and hopeless, he will try
To find and share a love that will not die.

Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Professor Of Logic Analyzes Romantic Rejection

My head knows what I dreamed of can’t occur.
My heart is certain it could still be real.
What does it say about my character
When false hope is the strongest hope I feel?

I ache with loss for what I never had.
I miss the meal I never got to eat.
How dumb is that, to make myself feel bad
And suffer, thanks to both kinds of conceit?

And yet it weighs me down, this weightless loss—
This past unlived; this future never shared—
And I hang from a self-created cross
I could step down from right now. If I dared.

My untouched heart throbs like I just got shivved there.
I’m dwelling on it—but we never lived there.

Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Life In 14 Lines - 7

                    for Arika Larson

I write. I have a muse who’s my work wife.
I’m either thinking “What if?” or “What gives?”
I only have one foot in quote, real life,
Unquote. I like to dream where Maybe lives.

The foot in the unreal takes all my weight.
It’s where I move from and I go to rest.
I feel inept unless I can create
And that real life is trivial at best.

I have one rule, unbroken since my youth:
If it happens to me, then it’s fair game.
I’ll bend the facts to aim straight for a truth.
You’ll know I love you if I change your name.

Real life’s the stove I use to bake the bread
Someone will chew on, long after I’m dead.

Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Capitalism causes emptiness
So that you have to buy something to fill it.
That “something” is how it defines success,
And everyone is on the take to shill it.

You don’t just buy the latest piece of stuff—
You flaunt it, to increase your status through one.
And it’s designed to last just long enough
For you to earn the cash to buy a new one.

The old’s replaced, but not because it died—
Because it’s now improved and more robust.
Buy one or else face social homicide.
There is no end to it because it must

Keep growing, and won’t take no for an answer.
Two things do this. The other one is cancer.

Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells